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Florida High Court Hears Arguments in ‘Stand Your Ground’

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Florida State Supreme Court House
Image credit: Photo: Flickr, Stephenie Schukraft, CC BY-NC 2.0

The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday morning in a case that could make it easier to get immunity under the “Stand Your Ground” law.

Jared Bretherick was denied immunity from trial after pulling his gun during a roadway argument three years ago.

His attorney, Eric Friday argues, in trials, the state has to disprove self-defense. He says that burden extends to pretrial motions too.

UCF Criminal Justice Professor Lee Ross says that take on the law could give offenders two chances to go free. “They could be acquitted pre-trial preliminary hearing, or they could be acquitted at trial. That could be a grave injustice to most victims.”

Justice Barbara Pariente didn’t seem to buy it. “So I’m trying to see where, other than kind of pulling it out of the stratosphere, we would come up with that additional burden,” says Pariente

Pariente says she sees nothing in the Stand Your Ground legislation or laws from other states to support Friday’s argument. Other justices hinted at sharing that view, but some remained silent.

Ross says he thinks the court will side with the state. That would confirm the pre-trial burden of proof falls to the defendant and ensure potential victims have their day in court.

A ruling for defense could essentially lead to pretrial acquittals.

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